In the middle of a hot and windy journey in Losail International Circuit of Doha, in Qatar, Valentino Rossi returned to victory in the second round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP). American rider Nicky Hayden was able...
In the middle of a hot and windy journey in Losail International Circuit of Doha, in Qatar, Valentino Rossi returned to victory in the second round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP). American rider Nicky Hayden was able to push until the end and ended up in second place while standings leader, Loris Capirossi, completed the podium.
It was the return of "The Doctor": the seven-time World Champion came from sixth in the grid to take his first season victory after a not-so-good start of the year two weeks ago in Jerez de la Frontera.
With today`s result, the Italian has now reached 54 victories to equal Mike Doohan's career mark. "I'm very happy, it is a pleasure to equal Mick Doohan's record of wins, the numbers are always important", Rossi stated.
The Yamaha M1 of Rossi showed a strong pace that allowed him to push over his rivals until he reached the surprising poleman, Casey Stoner, who was left behind by the experience of the defending title holder.
"We came out of this difficult situation with the chattering problem so I need to thank Jeremy Burgess, all my mechanics and the Japanese engineers, who helped fix the bike. Today is for me the first race, after what happened in Jerez. Today the M1 was very good and I could push hard like I wanted", expressed a happy Rossi.
About the last sprint of the competition with Hayden in battle, the Italian said: "I was able to come back from a lower position on the grid and battle with Stoner and Nicky. Nicky had a great race, and I also saw Loris coming on strong so I thought I'd really have to push for the last two laps".
The victory was also Rossi's 80th in the continental circus since his debut in the 125cc category in Malaysia 1996.
Hayden had a strong performance taking his second podium of the season and fighting for the victory until the chequered flag against Rossi.
The American started from fourth and jumped to second behind leader Stoner, until the Yamaha of Rossi passed him on lap six. Another six laps later, it was Hayden`s turn to pass Stoner and retake second place.
"Battling for the win is so much more fun than battling for fourth place! I pushed Valentino hard today and I pushed myself about as hard as I could too", Hayden commented.
Hayden fought hard in the end and he explained the trilling final lap of the competition head-to-head with Rossi. "We had the bike that could win today, but on the last lap in a left-hander I got into a nice little slide and Valentino gapped me pretty good and it was hard to recover".
Honda RC are making good progress with the bike and the results are right there. A victory seems to be a matter of time.
Ducati Marlboro took third and fourth in Losail today with Loris Capirossi taking the final podium step after his victory in Jerez, with Sete Gibernau behind him to close another great weekend for the team.
Capirossi stayed all the race with the leading group, saving tyres for a final attack, which allowed him to secure important points to continue at the top of the championship battle.
"This is a great weekend for the team, because for sure this circuit was not one of the best for us. Bridgestone made a good job during the winter tests and we have made great improvements", Capirossi said.
"For us, this was a difficult track and last year we had big problems. But this year we managed to fight for the victory right to the end, and took a very good result", he added.
After he gave-up the lead, Stoner lost his position in hands of Hayden, Capirossi and Gibernau to achieve a not at all bad fifth place in it second appearance in MotoGP.
Dani Pedrosa was able to add some good points by taking sixth spot with the second bike of Repsol Honda in a race that was complicated for him after some clutch problems in the start.
Both Fortuna Honda riders, Marco Melandri and Toni Elias, followed the Spaniard while top ten was filled by the Americans Colin Edwards and Kenny Roberts Jr.
With two rounds disputed, Capirossi holds the lead in the standings with 41 points, where Hayden is the new second with 36 and left his teammate Pedrosa behind with 30 units. Rossi has now 27 points and it new fourth while Elias and Stoner share fifth position with 21.
The action for the Continental Circus will now move to Istanbul Park Circuit for the second Grand Prix of Turkey, on April 30th.